Scott Hanselman

How to disable Windows Media Player Guide

June 01, 2006 Comment on this post [7] Posted in Musings | Tools
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DisablemediaguideThis email struck me as fun, and I felt like answering it (to the best of my ability):

Hello, I know you are busy and probably do not answer random questions, but I do not know who to turn to and you're a random name off the internet.

I use windows media player.  I like to optimize the way things run to do what I want.  I've been obsessively seeking a way to disable the media guide.  I do not want it accessing the internet and trying to sell me anything I do not plan on buying in the first place.

It seems like a conspiracy and I have been unable to remedy this situation.  In desperation I've emailed a good friend of mine and you. 

Where would I go to find this information?  I've done about five google searches and clicked over forty links.  Any help you can offer will be IMMENSELY appreciated.

Here's what I came up with:

In Windows Media Player go Tools|Options|Privacy and uncheck EVERY checkbox. This will at least keep Media Player from suggesting things.

Then, go to your c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc and open the file called "HOSTS" in notepad. Add these lines at the very end:

This doesn't remove the "Guide" Tab, but effectively neuters it.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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June 01, 2006 20:33
Very handy tip. I noted something similar with getting rid of the ads in MSN Messenger ( ). A little knowledge of Packetmon, Ethereal, or even Fiddler can go a long in identifying URLs that you don't want your applications hitting behind your back.
June 03, 2006 7:03
Great tip. The loading of that page in Media player has annoyed me for years!
June 03, 2006 19:48

or use a firewall with outgoing filters. You should get a prompt notifying you that the player is trying to access some web site. Tell it to block it permenantly.
June 03, 2006 20:21
Abdu, sure, but if you consider the tone of this gentleman's message, I figured that this needed to be a solution that could be explained in a simpler way and entirely on the local system.
June 04, 2006 17:22
Also... a firewall, like ZoneAlarm, would also take care of the issue if a newer version of WMP starts using websites not in your list or if the current one 'calls home' to get a fresher list of websites.
June 05, 2006 19:31
I'll bet the guy asking works for a Microsoft Customer Support Team in Bangalore. Now when we phone support he will have the answer. . . . . .

July 31, 2006 3:54

Great to know. Upon further review you can also block the Music, Radio and Video tabs as well by adding another local host line and placing after it. Thanks alot for the location of this annoying feature.


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.